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Archive for May 29th, 2010

The outcome of this afternoon’s game took a momentary backseat in the third inning when Indians starter David Huff was struck just over the left ear by an Alex Rodriguez line drive. The impact off Huff’s head was so severe that the ball wound up landing in shallow right field for an RBI double. Immediately upon being struck, Huff dropped to the ground and lay prone while several Yankees rounded the bases. The game action seemed academic, however, and once time was called players from both teams congregated around the trainers, who attended to the young Indians’ lefty. Eventually, Huff was taken off the field on a motorized stretcher, but was able to give a thumbs up to the cheering crowd. 

David Huff lies motionless on the mound after being struck in the head by a line drive off the bat of Alex Rodriguez (Photo: The Canadian Press).

 

The Yankees tacked on another run in the third to increase their lead to 3-0, but the drama of the situation and long delay seemed to have an impact on Sabathia. After cruising through the first three frames with only 31 pitches, Sabathia would need exactly that amount to get through just the fourth inning. In the inning, Sabathia’s fast ball command abandoned him, and with it, his willingness to throw it. On successive at bats to Mark Grudzielanek Matt LaPorta, Sabathia surrendered an RBI single and two run double on a slider and change up, respectively. 

After giving up the lead, the Yankees quickly responded with six more runs in their half of the fourth, thanks mostly to the wildness of Aaron Laffey, who walked three straight batters and hit Mark Teixeira with a pitch to force in two runs. Cano then doubled home another pair of runs before Laffey was lifted from the game after throwing 38 pitches in the inning. Francisco Cervelli capped off the rally with a seeing eye single up the middle that knocked in two more runs. 

After the interminable fourth inning, the rest of the game proceeded at a pace that only Joe West could appreciate. C.C. Sabathia was never able to find his rhythm, but did get through six innings before handing off to the bullpen what seemed like a very safe 10-5 lead. 

The top of the seventh inning was complicated when David Robertson had to leave the game after two batters because of stiffness in his lower back. From that point forward, Joe Girardi decided to play his usual late inning game of bullpen roulette. After one batter a piece, Girardi burned through Sergio Mitre and then Damaso Marte before settling on Joba Chamberlain to record the final out in the inning. Chamberlain would go on to finish off the seventh, but not before allowing both inherited runners to score along with four additional runs of his own. By the time the smoke had cleared, the Indians scored seven runs and turned what had been a laugher into a comedy of errors for the Yankees. 

The Indians increased their lead to 13-10 in the eighth when Russell Branyan homered off Chad Gaudin, and then held on in the ninth as the Yankees tried one last attempt to mount a comeback off Kerry Wood. As they often do, the Yankees were able to bring the tying run to the plate, but Nick Swisher whiffed on a Wood fastball to end the game and seal the deal on a monumental collapse. 

Just when it seemed as if the offense was starting to turn the corner, the bullpen has now emerged as a major hole for the Yankees.  Chamberlain has now played an instrumental role in blowing three games over the last two weeks, including two leads of four runs or more. What’s more, he has failed to develop into the reliable “8th inning” guy that Girardi envisioned, and the Yankees may now need to revisit the decision to entrust the late innings to their erratic, under-achieving righty.

Meanwhile, the injury to Robertson only further clouds the picture  as no other reliever aside from Mariano has shown signs of being able to provide consistent, quality innings out of the pen. Making matters worse is Girardi’s inability to realize that he simply can not burn through relievers. Instead of allowing one to get on a roll, Girardi keeps shuffling through the entire bullpen, ensuring that he will eventually find the bullet in the chamber. (more…)

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Winless in his last four starts, C.C. Sabathia looks to get back on track against his old team, even if most of the faces in the uniform wont be familiar.

A lot has changed for the Indians since Sabathia departed in the middle of 2008, so much so that he will face almost as many ex-Yankee teammates in today’s lineup as those he played with in Cleveland. Shelly Duncan, who was always a fan favorite at Yankee Stadium, will bat fifth in the Indians lineup, which speaks volumes about how depleted the Indians once powerful offense has become. Interestingly, Mike Redmond is not in the starting lineup despite being 13-26 against Sabathia. Although it is a day game after a night game and Redmond was yesterday’s catcher, it seems a little shortsighted to pass up on this favorable matchup.

Indians’ lefty David Huff has never faced the Yankees as a starter, so the Yankees will all be getting their first look at him. Joe Girardi’s lineup includes the return of Nick Swisher to the two-hole, which seems as if it will be a permanent arrangement with a southpaw on the mound. Marcus Thames also gets the nod at DH, a position that seems to have evolved into a straight platoon between him and Juan Miranda. Also, with the quick turnaround, Girardi has decided to ease Curtis Granderson into a full time role by giving him the game off in favor of Kevin Russo.

vs. David Huff PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Derek Jeter SS 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Nick Swisher RF 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Mark Teixeira 1B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Alex Rodriguez 3B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Robinson Cano 2B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Marcus Thames DH 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Francisco Cervelli C 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Kevin Russo LF 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Brett Gardner CF 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Total 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
vs. CC Sabathia PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Trevor Crowe CF 2 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Shin-Soo Choo RF 6 0.200 0.333 0.200 0 0
Austin Kearns LF 15 0.133 0.133 0.200 0 0
Johnny Peralta 3B 6 0.200 0.333 0.400 0 0
Shelley Duncan DH 3 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Mark Grudzielanek 2B 34 0.300 0.364 0.300 0 4
Matt LaPorta 1B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Lou Marson C 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Jason Donald SS 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Total 66 0.217 0.273 0.250 0 4
Yankees vs. Indians
Season: 2010 Season: 2009 Season: 2008 All-Time
NYY: 1-0 NYY: 5-3 CLE: 4-3 NYY: 1086-864

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